We all want to be more productive. Don’t we? And one of the most common statements I hear is, “But I have limited time during the day.” If you think like that, perhaps, you have misunderstood the essence of time.
It’s not the time that is the problem. The problem is that we’re thinking more and acting less. We remain preoccupied with thoughts, ruminating on the dead past or an imaginary future. Rarely are we in the present moment.
The “doer-mind” is permanently attached to the outcome and remains incapacitated to be focused on the present. Therefore, it hinders the working mind, which is at the forefront of creative and critical thinking.
The thinking mind is divergent in energy, whereas the working mind is convergent. What that means is that the thinking is spread all over the place and wastes a lot of energy in fantasizing or spreading the attention wide.
On the other hand, the working mind is focused (Lazer-sharp) and engaged on the task at hand. The working or engaged mind only contemplates strategies related to the current work.
It is not concerned with the outcome of the work at all. It is engaged only in problem-solving in the present moment. It is the creative mind.
Our life force is a limited resource that seeks to create a balance between physical work and mental strain. Too little physical work will increase psychological pressure and cause stress and depression.
Too much work will cause physical stress. Therefore, a good balance of physical and psychological work is required to keep good health.
When the thinking mind dominates the awareness, the working mind does not get a chance to build the convergent focus required for optimal work and productivity.
With a dominant thinking mind, people either procrastinate or become workaholics. In the former case, we remain depressed about not taking action on our goals.
And in the latter case, we lead ourselves to exhaustion and burnout. Even if we achieve the desired outcome through excessive work, our thinking mind does not allow us to relax and enjoy the fruits of our success.
The thinking mind starts contemplating another task, even before reaping the fruits of the earlier one. The hustle and chase mentality produces nothing but stress and anxiety.
The body cooperates for some time till you’re young, but the trouble starts in old age as the accumulated stress shows up as psychosomatic ailments. Everything has a cost. Even thinking is an expenditure.
The thinking mind consumes our fuel of life-force energy. Even the Will is a limited resource. You waste precious fuel by spreading your focus on too many things. Where the focus goes, the energy flows there.
But here’s the catch. The thinking mind cannot dominate when the awareness is high. The thinking mind is sneaky. It shows up only when your attention is scattered. Notice this!
That is why you emotionally react to situations because the reaction comes from unconsciousness as a mechanism to relieve the agitated mind. But this never works.
So sometimes, doing nothing is the best way to conserve your energy. It allows the awareness to grow. The thinking cannot thrive in this awareness, and the working mind can make the optimal use of the life-force energy.
I’m not asking you to relax, sleep, do yoga, meditation, or anything. Just find some time to sit all by yourself and watch your thoughts. The sneaky thinking mind cannot survive when you give your thoughts complete attention.
That energy of restlessness and unease gets dissipated in the light of awareness. The thinking mind is mostly driven by unconscious forces; therefore, you will not get to know what causes you restlessness and unease.
It’s not essential to know the root cause of unease and discomfort (It will reveal itself over time). Allow the analytical mind to be quiet for a while and notice how the unease dissolves into nothingness. That’s where it came from. Back into that it goes.
When you don’t react to unease, it loses its grip on you. This process can be slow, so be patient. The feelings become powerful when we resist them.
So avoiding the momentary pain by diverting attention to objects like smartphones, books, tv, social media, substances, and more, will only make the unease worse.
Be with the unease, and you’ll see it disappear. Allowing these feelings to surface in your conscious mind may be painful in the moment, but over time, they lose their energy to influence you.
That is when you know that you’re not the feeling but the consciousness in which feelings arise. And in my opinion, that is true spiritual awakening.
By conserving your energy, you’re allowing for more productivity. How do we know if we have been productive during the day? At the end of the day, observe your thoughts and feelings.
Your mind should be calm and restful, and you should be completely disconnected from your work.
If, in the evening, you’re still thinking and obsessing about “what more can I do,” then chances are that your productivity that day was not optimal as the mind is not satisfied. Or it can be that the thinking mind is dominant.
Do more by doing less! Conserve your energy to build focus! Whether it’s advancement in your career, enjoying a hobby, or spending quality time with friends and loved ones, the more energy you have, the more you can accomplish.
Learn from the sea. It does nothing more than position itself low to allow the water of hundreds of streams to flow to it. Be still, let go of the thinking mind, and receive!
“Why are seas and rivers rulers of the streams of hundreds of valleys? It is because of their low positions” - Lao Tzu (Tao Te Ching Chapter 66)